stepping stones of truth

A journey along the path of life - the stones can be rough, smooth or even wobbly!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Nearly Christmas

Where would we be without a midwinter festival of light to look forward to in the depths of the winter darkness? Some snapshots of the weekend before Christmas in Dorset, England :-

It dawns cold, with wonderful frost patterns on the roof of my car.

But the sun shines, with fluffy seedheads of Golden Rod Solidago against the sky.

The important ingredients of a Saturday morning! A drive to the next village results in a granary loaf straight out of the baker's oven - it smells and tastes wonderful. And a paper with so many sections that it will take me a week to read it, (with an excellent general knowledge crossword too)

Later on Saturday evening there are carols on the village green, to raise funds for the children's play area - a community event. Its getting quite chilly, and the cold sky shines with stars.

My husband is asked to bring along his brass band friends to accompany the carols. Their breath floats on the frosty air along with the music.

Sunday morning, and I am off to bell ringing in Charminster. Rowan berries are still shining on the trees in the church yard under the ancient bell tower.

The band, ready to ring the front six (of our ten bells). The tradtional words said by the treble ringer (thats the smallest and lightest bell which is on the left) before pulling off are " Look to. Treble's going. She's gone" They are said as you pull the bell off the balance and start ringing. We ring around the old font at the back of the church, on the ground floor - rather than in a belfry, higher up in the tower like some churches.

Youngest Daughter is now a journalist with the Western Gazette, and is the reporter responsible for the Sherborne area. There she is at the top of the main street of Sherborne, on a Sunday afternoon, with some of the lovely old buildings. I can so easily imagine it with coaches and horses in the streets rather than cars. Its hardly touched by the last century.

Back home to Frampton to the candle lit Carol Service in our village church, but there is light from a few wall lights too. Our neighbours donated and decorated the huge tree. I only had my phone but took a quick shot from my seat, past the wooden barley stick candle holder. We had mulled wine, mince pies and delicious cheesey biscuits afterwards (I am trying to get the recipe).

The organist is a very elderly spinster, who has played here for years. Sadly her fingers and feet are not as nimble as they were (she uses a zimmer frame) and the whole musical event is rather like something from the Vicar of Dibley (if you have ever seen the BBC TV series). She plays at a consistent speed - funereal and deadly slow. You can always tell the newcomers to the village as they are caught out, and are singing at the usual speed. They are at the end of the second line before she has started on the first! Bless her, its just one of the special things that makes a village Christmas. No-one would dream of asking her to stand down, even though it takes a long time to get through nine lessons and carols at this rate. At one point there is a brief power cut, and the church is plunged into darkness - a good job there are candles. Of course the organ drones on for a few seconds, before the air from the electrically driven bellows runs out, and there is no air left in the organ pipes. Silence. Then there is a loud whisper " God must be a musician. He is giving us a break!"

Back home to our Christmas tree. Yes that's a bear in a fairy dress on top of the tree!
Its nearly the longest night of the year, the midwinter Solstice.
May we find our way out of the darkness into the Light.
Light and Love to you and yours.


At 11:04 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee, you have had a perfect weekend it seems. I love the traditionality and commonality of it all. Not like our crazy commercialism at this side of the pond.

At 10:37 pm, Blogger Val said...

Oooh, the bread nazi would love that one photo: fresh bread and the Saturday morning papers indeed!

A lapsed blogger stopping by to wish you a happy and serene holiday season!

At 1:06 pm, Blogger HORIZON said...

Oh dear Val- l laughed and laughed out loud at the end there- could just imagine the power outage, the organ sound as it deflated and the relief! lol
Was the best post that l have read in ages- loved the old village, the outdoor music and so wished l lived where you do. l have often said to my husband who lived for many years in Devon that l would love to move south to Dorset. :)
Your phone camera works a treat.
Wishing you the very best for Christmas and the New Year!!
Oh and lastly- the photo of your baked bread and newspapers- nothing better. My hubby faithfully does the crosswords each week and we love to come down Sunday morn to the fresh smell of baked bread. Wonderful.

At 6:18 am, Blogger Kerri said...

What a wonderful post Val! You've had a lovely lead up to Christmas..lots of activities. I had a giggle at the organist. I've had the same experience while having a hymn sing at another local church. So funny :)
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a joyous New Year. I too have enjoyed getting to know you over this year and always find your posts so interesting. I'll be back after Christmas to read about Kyoto

At 1:07 pm, Blogger vishwa said...

Great pictures as always. And your descriptions never fail to bring alive the life and life-style of your part of the world.
Merry christmas!!!


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